12.04.2007

Big Discovery, But Behind the Times

For those of you who haven't seen this yet (and most of you probably have), I am linking to a supercool site call FreeRice. It's a combination of vocabulary test and charity organization. It's a lot of fun, mostly because the test is designed to adjust to the proficiency of the tester. So if you're a child (or not well-read) you get easier questions than if you read the dictionary every night before bed.
Here's how it works:

How does the FreeRice vocabulary program work?
FreeRice has a custom database containing thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty. There are words appropriate for people just learning English and words that will challenge the most scholarly professors. In between are thousands of words for students, business people, homemakers, doctors, truck drivers, retired people… everyone!

FreeRice automatically adjusts to your level of vocabulary. It starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder level. This one-to-three ratio is best for keeping you at the “outer fringe” of your vocabulary, where learning can take place.

There are 50 levels in all, but it is rare for people to get above level 48.


I've gotten up to level 45, but it's hard to maintain for long. It's also surprisingly addictive.
(A co-worker was just describing how his son beat the system by artificially depressing his start point so that his slow climb up (three questions at a time) would all count towards free-rice. It'd be interesting to do the calculations to see how affective that would be.)

So no matter what your vocabulary level, you can enjoy this game. Cool, eh? I've heard mutterings about this before, but never had the time or inclination to investigate until today.

5 comments:

Janiece Murphy said...

I linked to that from the Brain of Shawn. So I guess I'm a late-comer, too.

Anne said...

It was Shawn's mention that made me click the link. Don't know what made me click it this time (as opposed to all the other times I heard it mentioned). Maybe I was just hoping for a tiny bit more procrastination time. It worked, obviously.

Janiece Murphy said...

I can always find something better to do than study. I have an exam at the end of the month, too, and I suspect I'm not as disciplined as you are.

Anne said...

I'm blogging instead of studying. Not *that* disciplined. ;)

Shawn Powers said...

Yay! I've made a difference in the world with nothing more than an aptly placed href tag. :)

Seriously though, my 8 year old daughter was shocked that I didn't know about freerice. She was quite proud to show her Daddy a computer thing. :) (and I was quite thrilled to be taught, she's growing up so fast!)